Asus reveals first 7" tablet with four cores, at "magic" $249 price

ASUS logoAt yesterday's NVIDIA press conference here at CES, Asus took the stage to talk about using NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 3 mobile processor in its tablets. Fans of Asus's Tegra 3-powered Transformer Prime tablet will be thrilled to know that the 10-inch device will have an Android 4 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") update pushed out beginning Wednesday.

But the real news came when ASUS CEO Jerry Shen showed off an upcoming 7 inch tablet dubbed the EeePad Memo (pronounced "MEE-moh"), which runs Ice Cream Sandwich on a Tegra 3 processor, has an "incredible" rear-facing camera, and features a "magical" price. That price? $249.

Different strokes

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang talked a lot about how the many form factors in the Android ecosystem is a distinct advantage over the competition (read "iPad.") "Though the Camry is the most popular car, we don't all drive one," he said. "One size doesn't fit all; different strokes for different folks."

The fragmentation of the Android platform has been largely overcome by Android 4.0, according to Huang. Being able to run on smartphones, folios, tablets, and "transformers" will create "one enormous installed base for developers," he said. "We expect this to be a big shift in how people think about Android devices."

Huang said that Asus's Transformer Prime tablet running ICS is his "favorite tablet, and my favorite computer." Though the tablet launched with the tablet-only version of Android known as "Honeycomb," Huang said that Asus and NVIDIA engineers have been working around the clock for weeks to build a version of ICS for the Transformer Prime and that Google gave the release a "thumbs up" on Tuesday. An Asus representative told Ars that the update should begin rolling out as an OTA update on Wednesday, slightly ahead of schedule.

Asus CEO Shen, whom Huang credited with creating the modern motherboard market as well as the netbook and transformable tablet form factors, then pulled out an early sample of what Asus is calling the EeePad Memo. The 7 inch, 16:9 widescreen tablet includes a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the "best" tablet camera, and will ship with Android 4.0.

The price? "We want to achieve magic price—$249!" Shen said. A firm ship date wasn't announced, but the tablet should be available in the first half of 2012.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, ASUS, CES, NVIDIA, tablets, Tegra

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